Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244, 11 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

versity has considered African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans to be "underrepresented minorities," and it is undisputed that the University admits "virtually every qualified . . . applicant" from these groups. App. to Pet. for Cert. 111a.

During 1995 and 1996, OUA counselors evaluated applications according to grade point average combined with what were referred to as the "SCUGA" factors. These factors included the quality of an applicant's high school (S), the strength of an applicant's high school curriculum (C), an applicant's unusual circumstances (U), an applicant's geographical residence (G), and an applicant's alumni relationships (A). After these scores were combined to produce an applicant's "GPA 2" score, the reviewing admissions counselors referenced a set of "Guidelines" tables, which listed GPA 2 ranges on the vertical axis, and American College Test/Scholastic Aptitude Test (ACT/SAT) scores on the horizontal axis. Each table was divided into cells that included one or more courses of action to be taken, including admit, reject, delay for additional information, or postpone for reconsideration.

In both years, applicants with the same GPA 2 score and ACT/SAT score were subject to different admissions outcomes based upon their racial or ethnic status.7 For example, as a Caucasian in-state applicant, Gratz's GPA 2 score and ACT score placed her within a cell calling for a postponed decision on her application. An in-state or out-of-state minority applicant with Gratz's scores would have fallen within a cell calling for admission.

7 In 1995, counselors used four such tables for different groups of applicants: (1) in-state, nonminority applicants; (2) out-of-state, nonminority applicants; (3) in-state, minority applicants; and (4) out-of-state, minority applicants. In 1996, only two tables were used, one for in-state applicants and one for out-of-state applicants. But each cell on these two tables contained separate courses of action for minority applicants and nonminority applicants whose GPA 2 scores and ACT/SAT scores placed them in that cell.

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